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Understanding Bequest Motives An Empirical Analysis of Intergenerational Transfers

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  • Günther Fink
  • Silvia Redaelli

Abstract

This paper analyzes one of the major factors underlying old agents' saving and consumption decisions - the individual intentions to leave bequests. We present two simple model of altruistically motivated bequests and use data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to confront the theoretical implications of the two model with empirical evidence from the survey data provided. The main findings from the data are the following: First, there is strong evidence against a strictly accidental, and in favor of intentional bequest motive for a significant share of agents aged sixty and older. Second, we find the probability to leave an inheritance is mainly driven by wealth and individual characteristics such as health, education, race and religion, but not directly dependent on the heirs' wellbeing, contradicting the standard altruistic model of bequest.

Suggested Citation

  • Günther Fink & Silvia Redaelli, 2005. "Understanding Bequest Motives An Empirical Analysis of Intergenerational Transfers," DNB Working Papers 042, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:042
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & Steven Laufer & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2011. "The Joy of Giving or Assisted Living? Using Strategic Surveys to Separate Public Care Aversion from Bequest Motives," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(2), pages 519-561, April.
    2. Vaz, Thalita A. & Machado, Sérgio J. & Bortoluzzo, Adriana B., 2011. "Estimation of Conversion Rates into Annuities: A Brazilian Perspective," Insper Working Papers wpe_249, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
    3. Renneboog, L.D.R. & Spaenjers, C., 2009. "Where Angels Fear to Trade : The Role of Religion in Household Finance," Discussion Paper 2009-34, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Stefano STAFFOLANI & Enzo VALENTINI, 2006. "Bequest Taxation, allocation of talents, education and efficiency," Working Papers 248, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    5. Staffolani, Stefano & Valentini, Enzo, 2007. "Bequest taxation and efficient allocation of talents," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 648-672, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bequest; Altruism;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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